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Business

European car markets rebound after summer in the doldrums

The number of new cars sold in the 28-nation EU has increased for the second time in three months. Automakers are hoping European markets have hit bottom and are beginning to recover this year.

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Registrations of new cars rose by 5.4 percent in September, rebounding from a brief dent, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) announced Wednesday.

Carmakers sold 1.16 million vehicles in the European Union, ACEA data showed, with gains posted in most major markets except Italy and Germany.

Sales recovered most significantly in Spain, up by 28.5 percent compared with September 2012, to be followed by Ireland where 27.9 percent more cars were bought, and Portugal with 15.9 percent higher sales.

The upswings in the three eurozone countries, which all received bailouts from the EU, adds to industry optimism that the five-year car crisis in the 28-nation bloc might have bottomed out.

Car sales last month were still at the second lowest level for the month of September in over 10 years, according to ACEA. Also, sales for the first nine months of 2013 were down 3.9 percent from the same period a year ago, the association reported.

In that period, the German luxury automaker Daimler and French mass-market manufacturer Renault were the only car companies posting gains, of 4.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

uhe/mkg (AFP, Reuters, dpa)